The Elegant Art-Pop of Manuel Schmid und Marek Arnold

One of the most delightful aspects of prog music is the convoluted networks of artists that can lead one to discover surprising hidden treasures. My latest vein of musical gold is an album by German artists Manuel Schmid and Marek Arnold. Their album, Zeiten, is my favorite of 2019 so far. (It was released in December 2018, and I wasn’t aware of it until March of this year, so I’m counting it as a 2019 release.)

How did an American fan of prog rock find this relatively obscure album that is sung entirely in German? Even Schmid’s official website is in German, so it’s incomprehensible to me. Well, I am a big admirer of the Australian group, Southern Empire. Sean Timms is their keyboardist and main songwriter. He is also a member of another excellent prog group, Damanek. Damanek includes multi-instrumentalist Marek Arnold. I noticed that Arnold’s newest project was Zeiten, and, voila!, I found this gem of an album

Zeiten is entirely sung in German, but that hasn’t detracted from my enjoyment of it one bit. I wish I could tell you what the songs are about, but based on the official video for Kleines Glück, I would say they are about relationships. Zeiten itself means “times” or an era in one’s life. All I know is that every song is perfectly crafted jewel.

Schmid and Arnold’s melodies are beautiful and delicate, catchy without being cloying, and deceptively complex. The instrumentation is primarily keyboards based, and mostly acoustic. There are very tasteful synth flourishes and electric guitar solos, but none of them overwhelm the beauty of the underlying melodies. Stiller Schrei features Schmid singing with a string quartet, and it is comparable to a work by Schubert.

Schmid has a wonderful voice – warm, clear, and strong without any histrionics. Arnold supplies sympathetic accompaniment with keyboards, synths, and sax. Their talents combine to create some of the most seductive music I’ve ever heard.

Here is the video for Kleines Glückwhich I assume is a bittersweet meditation on memories of childhood:


2 thoughts on “The Elegant Art-Pop of Manuel Schmid und Marek Arnold”

  1. Thanks for that nice review! Just a few words: “Kleines Glück” is the “sweetest” song of the album and its about enjoying all these little moments in life instead of that searching for the “big” happiness. Most of the songs are completely new arrangements of songs of my progmetal / rock bands “Toxic Smile” and “Cyril”, and thematically based on politics, inner mind, search for senses in life. Thanks for listening, and maybe you also have a look at our common band CYRIL, new album “the way through” was released in 2019, too, beside the new album of my main band “seven steps to the green door”. Kind regards, marek

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marek, many thanks for reading my review and clarifying the meaning of your songs. I look forward to checking out Cyril and 7 Steps to the Green Door! Best to you, Thaddeus


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